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A Buzzworthy Year in the E-piary

02
Aug
2017

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

It has been one year with our honey bee neighbors at the Empire Farm Brewery and also an eventful year filled with high, lows and honey! As a tribute to our queens and worker bees here’s the Buzz on our 2017 season in the E-piary.

“Winter is coming” is nothing to laugh about in the beekeeping world. Our five hives went into winter equipped with boxes full of honey, in the northwest corner of our property, wrapped in roofing paper to help with insulation. Our winter in CNY this year was inconsistent and the constant changes in temperature left our bees with a slim chance for survival.

With a 50% overwinter failure rate for honey bees in NYS we were victims to those statistics. Out of the 5 hives from last season we ended up with 2 living hives, but luckily we knew that they were the strongest. Now a few months into our warmer weather you can see the two hives filled with honey reaching close to five feet high! Extraction will take place sometime in August and honey will be divided between the brewery, kitchen and a small amount for retail sale for interested customers.

We were also able to preform a split from one of the hives, this is the act of taking young larvae or eggs from one hive along with worker bees and honey to start a new colony. After the split the queen-less hive was transported over 2 miles from our farm brewery so the worker bees inside would not be able to find their old hive. Once they realize they are without a queen and far from their previous hive it is time to get to work on raising a new queen. Worker bees create larger queen cells around existing eggs and feed them copious amounts of royal jelly. Royal jelly is fed to all eggs but the amount fed to a future queen triggers the development of her reproductive parts that only a queen has. This process take around 26 days and it is important to leave the small hive alone during this time, we will have to wait and see if the split was successful.

That’s all for now from the E-piary, but bee on the look out to try our estate honey for yourself on our tasting room menu, in our retail shop and on our beer list to see what all the buzz is about!

(Pictured right is Beekeeper Jackie with her mentor John Ferguson.)